The rapid pace of innovation seen in the last few years has prompted the emergence of new digital channels and tools, providing consumers with more options than ever before. At the same time, the evolution of technology creates more than digital engagement opportunities between brands and consumers. It also changes consumer behavior in contacting their brands, as they increasingly expect the convenience, speed, and personalization that digital channels can offer.
The latest survey by the Teleperformance Business Insights Lab shows digital channels are gaining ground in consumer adoption and preference.
The most common channels remain Voice, with 40% of those contacting their brands resorting to it, followed by Email/Web Forms at 30%. Thus, they continue to play an important role in how customers reach out to brands. However, the adoption of other channels propelled by the pandemic didn’t fade in the aftermath. The rise of digital options is led by Chatbots, In-app contacts – currently the third most used option for those seeking support – and live conversational channels such as Instant Messaging apps, text messages, and Live Chat.
The rise of digital is mostly not a direct replacement for other channels, but rather an expansion of the overall channel mix used by consumers. During the pandemic, contact frequency increased, and the average number of channels used by consumers spiked. While the percentage of consumers contacting and the frequency of contacts subsided after the pandemic peaked, consumers kept using multiple channels to reach the same brand.
As consumers adapted to using different channels, their preferences also evolved. Over two years since the pandemic began, most digital channels consolidated their newfound popularity. Only social media and click-to-call have partially backtracked preference. In the opposite direction, Voice regained a small portion of fans across most generations.
Top 5 digital channels increasing in customer preference compared to pre-pandemic (2019)
- Instant Messaging
- Text Messages
- Mobile Apps
- Live Chat
Embracing digital channels and anticipating the rise of upcoming disruptors in the market is no longer just a "nice-to-have" but has become a "must-have" for brands. As technology continues to advance and customer behavior and preference shift with it, brands need to stay ahead of the curve and adopt a forward-thinking approach to digital services.